Monday, January 31, 2011

I was asked to reflect on how my faith has impacted my studies here at ETBU! In knowing that I represent Christ in all that I do, this has encouraged me to work harder at my studies so that I may give Christ glory in all that I do, whether or not it be good or bad. Now to switch that around, my studies have also impacted and grown my faith! While I take tests, I am in constant communication with the Lord asking him to remind me answers that I have studied and give me wisdom with those I have not (lol!). In the end, if I have studied hard and spoken to the Lord throughout my whole test, He gets all the glory no matter if it is good or bad! It has been such an awesome experience to be able to give God the glory in it all! Such a little thing that has grown me tremendously. I also have been blessed with the priveledge to study religion here at ETBU, which has given me knowledge and deepened my faith.

I would say that my life could be deepened in the aspect of connecting a passionate pursuit and intellecual rigor for Christ. The Lord has given me a passion for Him that he deepens everyday through revealing himself to me but I need to gain more wisdom and intellect over the Bible, which I believe will come with time!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Darkness that brings Purification

The author of The Dark Night of the Soul describes how there are 7 capital sins that the Lord will purify each person of through "The Dark Night of the Soul". The "dark night of the soul" is when a person no longer has the pleasure they once had in their devotional life. From my understanding, it is God's way of purification and being able to test your true love for Him. When you first become a Christian, there is an emotional/ spiritual high that comes along with it. You can compare this to when you start a new relationship with the opposite sex and feel that they have no imperfections and your "obsessed" with them in a sense. Your grades decrease, you can not think of anything but that person, the first thing when you wake up in the morning is thinking of them and the last thing you think of during the day is that person and every point in between, you have a desire to only be with them and neglect all other responsibilities. You love them because they make you feel good. As the relationship continues and the "obsession stage" of your relationship wears down, how a person can truely tell if they love someone is if they choose to love them even after their "obsession" of them has worn off. After the obsession stage, you love someone because you love WHO THEY ARE, not because of how GOOD they make YOU FEEL. The way you can tell if you truely love someone is if once life goes back to normal, go back to fulfilling all your responsiblities, and realize the other person's imperfections.. You love them through it. You love them even though sometimes you do not feel like you do. In the same way, we have a spiritual high (or obsession) once we give our lives to the Lord because it makes us feel good, pure, pleasure and brings fulfillment. I believe the Lord takes that pleasure away because he wants to test our love for Him. He desires to know that we love him for WHO HE IS, because HE IS GOOD.. Not for how he makes us feel.

Of the virtues mentioned by Jon that the Lord purifies each person in, I believe the one I most need is moderation. I have a skewed mind set that the Lord and I are no closer if I only do a Bible study for a while each day.. I feel like it has to be hours long. That is not what the Lord is asking of me though, he asks just a time during the day I can sit down and process what He wants me to hear. He doesnt require a certain amount, just some time.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In the exerpt of "Spiritual exercises", St. Ignatius reveals the enemies one great fear.
The enemy works by making suggestions, hoping they will be pursued and kept secret. The evil one is greatly disappointed if we share his "decietful words and depraved intentions" with another. He fears this because he realizes that his plan can not continue. His deceits are revealed!

Brothers and sisters, keep each other accountable! This spoke to me in my life that I must learn to make sure the devil continues to fear this! He knows the power there is once Christ's people come together, so I am learning to do just that! Share his deceitful suggestions, let the Lord use those around you to bring light onto the dark.


My 3 things that I desire most from the Lord this week are
1. His everlasting peace in unpredictable times
2. His indescrible joy
3. That he will move me to where He wants me to be with Him

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Living Loved.

"The secret to loving is living loved."

"God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us.."
-1 John 4:9-10. God's love for me enables me to love him because I have tasted and seen that he is GOOD. Oh, what a sweet sweet taste that it has been. Loving the Lord has been a transformation from loving him merely because without him I can do nothing, to loving him because of who I have learned he truely is. Through out every trial, I have been redeemed by the "grace of the Rescuer" constantly reminding me that "HE is GOOD, not because he is good to me, but because HE is GOOD." What a beautiful reminder.

His love has enabled me to love myself because I have no right to despise myself when the CREATOR loves every part of me.

His love enables.. and demands.. me to love others. "Since God loves us, we surely ought to love each other." -1 John 4:11. BUT I love others only because (1) he loves me and (2) I love him, AND I love him because he loved me first. Without knowing that God loves me yet instructing me to love others is like telling me to write a check without a deposit.. I would be overdrawn. My love would be insufficient! Only in this order has God designed love to work.

"The secret to loving, is living loved."
The commands for our lives given in the last post are what are demanded of us if we are to be disciples of Christ. Two commands that Christ gives that stuck out to me are--

(# 1): Vs. 44, love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you.
This command is so relevant to our lives! How many of us have enemies or people that persecute us? Sadly, pretty much all of us. But discipleship is loving those who do not love you back, for that is what Christ does for us. Refusing this command can cost someone seeing how Christ loves us or deny us of how God wants to use us in anothers life.

(#2): Vs. 33-37, Do not take an oath at all.. let what you say simply be yes or no.
What a powerful message! This convicts me to be a woman of my word. We should not have to make oaths or promises because people should know us for keeping our word without having to promise it! As Christians, our word should be enough! Just as Jesus' is! Not one time do I remember him taking an "oath", but keeping his word faithfully! Refusing this command can be costly as if we do not keep our words, it does not reflect Christ in the right way.
In Matthew 5, 10 different things Jesus commands and demands of us if we are to live as disciples of Christ are included here--

1. Vs. 12--> Rejoice and be glad!!
2.Vs. 16--> Let your little light shine so that the Lord may be glorified!!
3. Vs. 20--> Be righteous!
4. Vs. 21-25--> Always reconcile with your brother and "come to terms with your accuser".
5. Vs. 28--> Do not commit adultry.. but it goes deeper than that. Adultry is defined as "looking with lustful intent." Keep your eyes and heart pure.
6. Vs.--> Do not divorce.
7. Vs. 33-37.. This one caught my eyes.--> "Do not take an oath at all.. Let what you say be simply Yes or no." Be men and woman of our words! Do not make vague promises or oaths, let our words be enough.
8. Vs. 38-42--> Turn the other cheek. Someone who asks you to go 1 mile, go 2.
9. Vs. 44-->Love your enemies and pray for them!
10. Vs. 48--> Be perfect.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Divine Calling

"The church exsists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them 'little Christs'."
I grew up as a member of my home church in Houston, Texas named Champion Forest Baptist Chruch! And what a blessing it was! Champion Forest's primary goal is to help further Christ's kingdom by following Christ's example of making "little Christs". Our girls minister Stephanie Chase says it best when she expressed her primary call to Christ as being one that follows his example of how he handled his disciples. Through this is how Champion Forest is effectively being used by the Lord to make "little Christs". What I was always taught at CFBC is Jesus had his 12 disciples that he invested in deeper than anyone else. The disciples stand for our close group of friends. The superb quality of CFBC is they practice what they preach. For 2 hours during the school week, students come into the student center and express what is on their minds and be hardcore invested into by the staff and other students through what they call "Infolded". Other activities are put into place throughout the year for students to be invested into and their spiritual lives to grow to be like Christ. This is bigger than just CFBC though. They impact the community more than they realize by changing these individuals. CHRIST impacted and invested into 12 men's lives and they were used to Him to help change the world. Christ is still working today by using CFBC to change youth's lives, ultimately, changing the future of that community for whatever each of youth individuals are called to do in their futures.

Paul expresses my prayer and gratitude for the youth staff of CFBC best!:
"I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. That the Lord of our Jesus Christ, the Father of GLORY, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may continue to know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints and what is the IMMEASUREABLE greatness of HIS power toward us who believe, according to the work of his great might.. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is HIS BODY, the fullness of him who fills all in all!"
Ephesians 1:15-19 & 22-23

My Whole tree down

"..No half measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked-- the whole outfit." This is C.S. Lewis' expression of Christ's call to us. Giving my ALL. I have trouble with giving "my whole tree" to Christ at times. I often tend to give branch by branch, which I believe most people make the mistake of doing as well. I think fear is what drives it for me. The thought of someone having every part of my life and every part of me in His hands to do what he wants is scary. That can mean anything. The Lord has the power to break me, allow pain into my life. What I have had to learn over time though is who else better to give your ALL to then the one who holds the world in his hands and has my name "graven upon the palm of his hands" (Isaiah 49:16). Yes, He will allow pain in my life.. but with it he always brings his comforting spirit. Yes, he allows sadness.. but he brings so much more joy and fulfillment with the parts I have given to him. For I can "do nothing on my own" (John 5:30). why not lay my "whole tree down"?